If I Were an Animal

This activity activates students’ imaginations and incorporates making sounds and listening. It can be expanded to include movement.

If I Were an Animal

If I Were an Animal


This activity activates students’ imaginations and incorporates making sounds and listening. It can be expanded to include movement.


  • Ask students to imagine they are all nonhuman animals spending time together as friends. 
  • Invite each student to silently choose what animal they would like to be. The animal can be real or yet-to-be discovered.
  • Moving around the space, ask each student to make the sound of their chosen animal. 
  • Depending on how much time you want to spend, ask other students to guess what animal the sound belongs to.
  • Variations:
    • Have the full group say, “If I were an animal…” before you gesture to a student to make their animal noise. 
    • Layer in adjectives. Ask students to think of an adjective for their animal and adapt their animal’s sound based on what they choose. Model an example for students.
    • Layer in movement. Ask students to think of a gesture their animal might make and add that to their sound for their turn.
    • This activity could become very stimulating; encourage positive behavior and set clear and achievable goals for the students. If you are concerned about volume or personal space, consider shifting the prompt (e.g. “If I were a quiet animal,” “If I were a small animal,” “If I were a sleepy animal”).
  • Reflection:
  • Possible reflection questions:
    • How did you choose your animal? 
    • What noises were most interesting to you? 
  • This reflection can be facilitated verbally, written or visually as a conversation, journal entry or drawing.

Transition into Activity

  • A guided imagination could support students’ transition into the activity. 
  • A listening activity where students listen to a variety of recorded animal sounds and then describe what they heard.

Transition out of Activity

Students could move like their animal to get back to their seats. If still seated, invite students to stretch and yawn like their animal would to start the day.

Classroom Arrangement

Students can be at desks or in a circle.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Providing pictures or a book of animals could support decision-making and communication.
  • Offer students the option of making a sound or a movement.
  • Call-and-response between the student who is choosing an animal and the rest of the class (e.g., Call: “[student’s name]”  Response: “[chosen animal]”).
  • Animal sounds can be played, and students as a group can guess the animal and make that animal’s movement together.

Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals

  • Model and start the sharing.
  • Participate by contributing their own noise. 
  • Support decision-making one-on-one if needed.
  • Amplify a student’s sound if needed.

Adjustments for Remote Instruction

This activity works well online. Animal choices could be shared via slides, video, etc. Students may need support muting and unmuting when it’s their turn to share. Students can share guesses in the chat.

Art forms

, ,


5-10 mins